Facebook ‘2G Tuesdays’ Give Employees Taste Of Snail-Like Data Speeds In Emerging Markets
Sometimes, it's a little too easy to take things for granted, and where tech is concerned, that can be with regards to Internet connection speeds. Sometimes, I find myself a little annoyed that I can't upload a video to YouTube fast enough, but for some in this world, merely getting a webpage to load in under a minute would be a dream.
Companies like Facebook take into account these kinds of experiences, because it can't simply optimize for markets that are blessed with good connection speeds and ignore those that are not. Take India, for example, where many folks are stuck with meager 2G connections which can require two minutes for a webpage to load. That's 56K modem performance, and I'm sure most of us remember how awful that was.
Indian boy using cell phone. Flickr: Meena Kadri
Well, Facebook wants to make sure its employees understand that pain as well, and as such has established "2G Tuesdays". Each Tuesday, the company will mimic 2G speeds so that employees can truly appreciate what people behind such connections have to deal with. In turn, that will help optimize the Facebook app to make sure that the most important data is loaded first, and superfluous stuff last.
One employee, Tom Alison, says, "It definitely tested my patience - it felt like parts of the product were just broken." It's not hard to understand where he's coming from. Often, if a webpage can't load quick enough, it can appear literally broken, with images and elements missing.
Fortunately for these Facebook employees, these slow speeds don't last all day, but instead for just an hour. It also appears to be completely optional, although taking advantage of it definitely helps open eyes about just how bad some people have it.